‘Gasoleros’ turns 25: a strip that made history on a TV… that today misses national fiction

At that time, Argentina was breaking records of “crazy about diesel”. That year the statistics showed that half of the vehicles in our country were diesel. The pockets of drivers and pedestrians were half empty. 1998. The President was Carlos Saul Menemthe economy was undergoing a boom in imports, privatizations and the closure of industries and In Polka there was a plan: to reflect what was happening inside any neighborhood.

The magnifying glass in the wallet and the feelings of ordinary people. that’s how he was born gas tankers: Adrián Suar’s first foray as producer of a daily strip that reached almost two million viewers every day.

25 years after the first issue (on January 5, 1998, on the old Channel 13), the program is resignified as a cornerstone of fiction in many aspects.

Youtube allows us to rewind and shred that first recognizable curtain chapter: Vicentico’s disdainful and affected voice announced “Gas tankers/there is no money/a lonely soul wandering around the city/don’t leave me in a gas tanker band/if there is a downpour tomorrow I have to go to work”…

“To think that it was a cycle to spend the summer, to fulfill a space and it became what it became”, analyzed the man who on the street will be Panigassi until the last day, Juan Leyrado. “I remember that the first talk with Adrián was in a little bar in Palermo. He told me the story with passion and it motivated me a lot. Polka was a small office and Adrián saw that there was a space to occupy from fiction “, he evoked the tale of 20 years, five years ago now.

“I knew that philosophy of the neighborhood man from my childhood in Barracas. Gasoleros gave us the opportunity to see the functioning and nobility of a neighborhoodwhere what matters most is the relationship with the other”, he recognized at the time.

mercedes moranthe protagonist of that success that measured an average of 20 points newspapers, he also made a mobilizing trip to the past: “I hesitated to do it. I felt that I was not the right actress to lead a conventional novelbut Suar told me that he wanted to do something else, he wanted a real type that he had recognized in one of my works and we decided to move on.

Panigassi & Roxi, unforgettable TV couple.

Roxi was an unforgettable character for me. Installing myself in that character -she confessed in 2018- it was one of the most relaxed experiences I had on television. I filled her with imperfections with the purpose of humanizing her. She was a little woman who, basically, did not give up or even given up, a transgressor, she raised her son, He had a lover, ran a fleet of taxis…”.

And he completed the profile of his creature: “He had a maid who was his friend. She did not meet almost any of the requirements of the typical protagonists”.

A fresh manners

The story posed two seemingly irreconcilable worlds: bus drivers versus taxi drivers. On the first side, Héctor (former bus driver, became a mechanic in whose workshop taxis were prohibited from entering). In the other, Roxana Presutti. Upward mobility was no longer for them, but the characters “broke their backs” so that the opportunities belonged to their children.

Brieva, Montanari, Morán, Leyrado, Solda, Camisani, Milone, Rada, Rago, Santoianni and Cabré.

Brieva, Montanari, Morán, Leyrado, Solda, Camisani, Milone, Rada, Rago, Santoianni and Cabré.

That narrative line was a part that explained the boom. The other side was supported from the visual and the technical. Panigassi’s chorizo ​​house, Emilia’s bar (Silvia Montanari), Roxi’s house. In the kitchens the artifacts were real: water came out of the faucets and the burners worked.

And many scenes looked like they were taken on location, despite having been shot in the studio. The effect was achieved by a complex lighting setup. Fifty 100w bulbs, for example, simulated the sun.

The writer George Gottling He knew how to masterfully specify the reason for the audience phenomenon: “The neighborhood, more than a notion of cadastre, is an interior landscape, a code of conduct. A warehouse light, the idealized romance of the woman who is back, the gullible merchants who still trust with the numbers in red constitute a good neighborhood drawing. And they can summon the shameful moisture of the tear.

For the scriptwriters Gustavo Barrios and Ernesto Korovsky, hypnosis in the Argentine eye was in a simple formula: “People without a job that does not lose joy for that reason. Y plain realism. No whimsical or supernatural twists”.

Fifty workers behind the camera, four fixed sets, two mobiles. The gasoleromania It was so deep that the archives account for the parade of visits from outside the artistic world. Even the Grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo had lunch with Roxi and Panigassi on the set.

“We ate melon with ham with them. And we talked about the Pinochet case”, explained Berta Schubaroff, together with Estela de Carlotto. Later, Diego Maradona took Roxi’s taxi in a wink that turned into a gig.

“Suar did a great mix: he mixed a Midachi with a Rubén Rada and a Manuel Callau. In the program I learned everything to later put my chest to the Soder of my life He came from a theatrical background where he had to raise his voice and energy and in the first scene Leyrado taught me not to scream”, Dady Brieva excitedly evoked.

“I was still living in Santa Fe. It wasn’t until August 1999 that I moved to Buenos Aires and when I worked here I stayed in a pension. We ended up being an oiled commando group, a perfect tetris, a Selection. I, Tucho, my character, sabalero, peronista, was a guy who had a parrot, Sanguinetti, with whom he spoke and with whom we achieved scenes fellinescas like the day the parrot died.”

The pearls of the phenomenon

  • at the beginning of the strip Jimena Barón was barely ten years old.
  • The program won nine of the ten shortlists that made up the Martín Fierro 1999.
  • The first sex scene between the protagonists he broke with all the romantic schemes seen until then: Panigassi grabbed the telephone directory and dialed the number of a temporary hostel. He asked for two rooms and the couple entered the place in Roxi’s taxi, with her at the wheel and him as a passenger. Everyone in his room, until he did the fine work: he put on a suit and knocked on the door of room 403, with a bouquet of flowers.
  • The salary of a leading actor barely exceeded 25 thousand pesos.
  • The recording days lasted 12 hours and the cast was expectant for the World Cup in France.
  • “I came from the success of Roller coaster, but she was very young, she was 21 years old. And the world was another: We didn’t have a cell phone and on the answering machine at home they left me a box of corn with the schedule of scenes for the next day. Some time later I bought a radio called”, laughs Malena Solda (Luciana).
The meeting workshop, 25 years ago, witness to the love of Panigassi and Roxi.

The meeting workshop, 25 years ago, witness to the love of Panigassi and Roxi.

And the actress adds: “There was a romantic line for adults and another for younger people, and I was part of the latter, as a novice. Gasoleros struck a chord. And it revolutionized the way of lighting, something that belonged to the cinema”.

Matías Santoianni, the son of Panigassi, adds more traces: “gas tankers marked the last times of several extinct customs. The autograph, having to use the VCR to record and not miss the chapter. Today they can watch us even in the bus and from their cell phone screen. But that universe was different.”

The most endearing presence was enjoyed by Cecilia Milone, who shared a dressing room with “the myth” that was added in the second season, China Zorrilla. “I lived with her and hers, her dog, her flower. It was the great prize of life that this strip gave me, ”she judged after 20 years of success.

“A large percentage of that cast came from the theater, so there was a way of working theatrical, which marked a style: if a bottle spilled, we wiped the table and followed the scene. That gave the sensation of TV made as theater”, recalls Panigassi’s sister, Isabel.

Is it crazy to think of a remake? “It is not a law that sequels are not good. Just remember that I am married to Nito Artaza. I think second times are worth it if the story is so good”, understands Milone.


“I came from doing unitaries, Poliladron, Truth consequence, RRDT, and I didn’t want to do a strip. At that time the channel convinced me to have Polka do the first strip of her. that’s how he was born gas tankers“Sura said.

“When the story came out, I started working it out in my head as a family comedy. I remember that I had the concept of the show, I was sleeping and I woke up one night with the title. At two in the morning I said his name is gas tankers. It was a comedy that ended up defining Polka as a fiction producer”, considers the creator of the plant.

“Also, at that time bringing together Juan Leyrado and Mercedes Morán was rare for the time. And it ended up being an iconic couple,” he qualifies without hesitation.

gas curiosities

The first cover of gas tankers in Clarion was released on December 20, 1997, and featured the clan that would make history days later. “Children of the street”, the note was titled. Suar predicted: “It will be a success. I like to start when everyone is on vacation”.

The program began with an average of 18.6 points and faced Son or they are made on January 5, Channel 9 comedy with Julieta Ortega, Carolina Fal, Rodrigo de la Serna and Walter Quiroz. In April of that year, she returned to the screen. VideoMatchat that time on Telefe, and immediately both cycles went head to head, exceeding 20 points each.

The most successful couple on TV at that time jumped into advertising. A supermarket chain had them seducing each other between gondolas to the rhythm of Penumbras, a theme sung by Sandro. And thanks to them, sales skyrocketed.

Pablo RagoNicolás Cabré, Alejandro Fiore, Héctor Bidonde, Nicolás Pauls, Pamela Rodríguez, Valeria Bertucelli, María Fiorentino, Favio Posca and more left their mark.

Panigassi left memorable phrases such as “one thing is one thing and another thing is something else”. The strip ended on December 30, 1999.

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‘Gasoleros’ turns 25: a strip that made history on a TV… that today misses national fiction